I recently had the chance to have lunch at the Turf Club, the table-service restaurant at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, with two colleagues, Suzannah DiMarzio of Zannaland (covering entrees) and Amanda Tinney of Disney Everyday! We decided to deliver our review of the restaurant in a bit of a round-robin fashion, so I’ll be covering appetizers, Suzannah will showcase our entrees, and Amanda’s going to be talking about our desserts! So let’s get started!
The Turf Club at Saratoga Springs reminds me a lot of the hotel itself — nice, dark wood furnishings; some featured decor; and no real theme to speak of. The theme of the resort and the restaurant is supposed to be early-century horse-racing in the lovely central New York town of Saratoga Springs, but it ends up being more of a mix of traditional decor with modern features…and a few pictures of horses on the walls. Oh, and a wine rack made of horseshoes.
There’s indoor and outdoor seating, both have a view of the gorgeous Lake Buena Vista golf course, and both are covered and protected from rain and excessive sunshine!
All in all, it’s a lovely restaurant, but doesn’t really scream “Disney” to me. If that’s what you’re looking for, this will be ideal for you. It’s perfect for a nice, relaxing lunch away from the frantic feeling of the parks.
The restaurant is tucked back — way back — into the lobby building of Saratoga Springs and offers a pretty standard American menu. Steaks (the feature of the restaurant), onion rings, burger, tomato soup, etc can be found on the menu, and while the place once held a real draw for Disney guests, it’s been getting emptier and emptier from what I’m hearing.
I figured since there were three of us to share, we should order lots! ;-D I started with the goat cheese and tomato soup, and we ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip (new on the menu) and onion rings with dips, to share.
The goat cheese and tomato soup was very good, and very standard at the same time. There wasn’t a strong goat cheese taste, but the soup had a creamy texture, which is where I’m guessing the cheese came into play. The flavor was more Campbell’s than gourmet, but it would definitely serve its purpose if you’re staying at the hotel and have a hankering for a crock of soup.
I was excited to try the Buffalo Chicken Wings I’d seen on the menu previously, but the menu that day listed Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip instead. Being from Buffalo, I love chicken wings — like, could eat them every single day for every single meal kind of love. And while Buffalonians have developed countless recipes for Buffalo Wing Dip, I’ve never been as fond of it as I am a big ol’ plate of Buffalo Wings. (This is usually because it’s made with things like Mayo, which are horrible.)
Surprisingly, I really did enjoy the Turf Club’s version of Buffalo Wing Dip! Served with house-made potato chips, the creamy (and not too crunchy — what the heck crunches in Buffalo Wing Dip anyway?) dip was a great compliment.
Finally the onion rings! These were delicious! While I wasn’t a huge fan of either of the dips that came with the rings, the nicely browned, not-to-oily rings were the perfect summer appetizer. The breading wasn’t crumbly or too heavy, either, so you didn’t end up with a soggy, slimy, bread-less piece of onion in your hand — always a plus.
I thought the appetizers were quite good, and they definitely took the edge off of the hunger. But, all-in-all, I’d say they were about the quality you’d expect from a chain steakhouse in your town (OK, maybe not the Buffalo Wing Dip unless you live in, like, Fredonia or something).
I hate to say it, but there are some Disney restaurants that seem to have just thrown in the towel from time to time, and I think Turf Club is going through a “tired phase” at the moment. That said, Disney restaurants have a history (for me, anyway) of being inconsistent, so there’s an 80% chance I’ll go back to Turf Club and have a spectacular meal!